More On The Max Media Dock

I’ve noticed a lot of people have been looking at my last post on the Datel Max Media Dock. Seems as there is suddenly a lot of interest in this little device. Well, now that I’ve spent a few weeks with the device, what do I think of it now?

Well, since that last post, I’ve installed DevKitArm and PALib and played around with some code on the DS. Using the dldi interface, you can access files on the MMD just fine. But, as a downside, it appears that most homebrew that you’ll find hasn’t been updated yet to use dldi. Hopefully that will change soon, as that will make all of the homebrew devices much more usable.

I have found that as I suspected, the startup time for the MMD is annoyingly long for doing any development. You have to go through 2, possibly even 3 splash screens before you get to actually run your program. At least if you name your program bootme.nds, it saves the step of having to click on the icon.

Which brings me to the other annoyance I’ve found — clicking icons seems to take too much time. I’ve found myself clicking multiple times with the stylus before finding that random tap that finally starts the program. I don’t really understand what Datel has done here — it would seem that basic functionality like this would be easy to implement.

The more I use this device, the more I think of things that would make this device better. Like I said in the first post, it’s USB interface makes it more convenient than a SuperCard Lite where you would have to physically remove the Micro SD card, place it in an adapter, and then finally into the card reader connected to your machine. But, even with the USB interface, you still have to unplug the USB connector when testing your code, and then plug it back in to upload new code. I’m used to the GBA where I could leave the MBV2 cable plugged into the GBA at all times. The upload speed on the MBV2 was a little slower than the MMD, but overall, the process was faster because of everything else.

One idea I have would be to implement some kind of server that would run on the PC, and then a program on the DS that would go to that server, download the latest code, and run it. Ideally, the server would be a standard protocol like HTTP or FTP. Then my build/test cycle would be make followed by pressing a button on the DS to download and run. Something like this shouldn’t take too long to write, and it would speed things along quite nicely.

I’ve now noticed the MMD for sale at even more stores than before — it looks like Datel is really pushing this device out to the marketplace. I even saw a version at Best Buy on Saturday that has a slimmer profile — this one had 1GB of storage in it, and was being sold for $59.99. It didn’t use the Compact Flash interface (much too small for that), and was advertised as being for the DS Lite. It still had it’s USB interface as well.

I think overall, with some developer love, the MMD will improve to be a very workable solution. Now that we have the dldi libraries, someone should probably sit down and make a nice shell that doesn’t try to be everything, and instead just works really good as a launcher. This, of course, isn’t specific to the MMD, but given the state of the software on it, it might apply even more to it than the other devices.

If anyone has any feedback on this device or others, feel free to post below.


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